Get Healthy: Testing the best way to prevent cervical cancer
January 8, 2014
This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
January is recognized as cervical health awareness month in the United States. Each year in the U.S., about 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, which is often caused by certain strains of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). This virus is so common that almost everyone who is sexually active will be exposed at some point. However, cervical cancer is preventable and treatable if it is caught early. Regular screenings can identify women who are at risk for cervical cancer or other reproductive health issues, and because there are often no symptoms, screening is the best way to catch problems early on. Additionally, there are vaccines available to protect against the types of HPV found to cause most cervical diseases, and those that cause genital warts.
Carson City Health and Human Services is pleased to offer health care services for women that can help protect cervical health. At our clinic, we offer annual PAP exams, STD testing and the HPV vaccine to our clients at affordable rates, and we are happy to answer your health questions in a respectful and confidential setting. We encourage women to visit the Health Department or their private physician for a check-up if it has been more than a year since their last PAP exam.
Veronica Galas, clinical services manager, would like to remind women that "regular screening tests and immunization with the HPV vaccine continue to be a woman's best defense in early detection and prevention of cervical cancer."
Cervical health awareness month also is a great opportunity to talk to your health care provider about the HPV vaccine. HPV is the most common STD, but more important than the vaccine protecting against an STD, it protects against a type of cancer that kills thousands of women each year in the United States.
If you are a patient or a parent of a patient between 9 and 26 years of age, take a few moments to talk to your doctor about the benefits of this vaccine.
To help prevent cervical cancer:
Vaccinate early (females and males ages 9-26 are eligible)
Pap test regularly (beginning at age 21)
Carson City Health and Human Services
Where: 900 E. Long St., Carson City
Clinic hours: Monday-Wednesday and Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., by appointment. Well-child visits are Mondays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Men's clinic is on Mondays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Call for an appointment: 775-887-2195. Thursday is immunization day. No appointment is needed from 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-4:30 p.m.
Douglas County Community Health
Where: 1538 U.S. Highway 395 N. (corner of Spruce Street ad Cemetery Lane)
Clinic hours: Monday 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., Tuesday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday is immunization day from 1-4:30 p.m. No appointment is needed.